Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The state conducts obviously ineffective investigation into the discovery of the conditions of Edgar Tsatinyan’s torture and death

May 20, 2020

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On 16 April 2019, during the ceremony of the Police Day, Artak Zeynalyan, former Minister of Justice of the post-revolutionary Armenia, announced that at that time he could see free-of-torture Police, “We can surely claim that torture and the practice of extorting testimony are left in the past”


On the same day, Valeriy Osipyan, former Head of RA Police, was awarded. Whereas, days before that, on April 8, Yerevan resident, 37-year-old Edgar Tsatinyan had died after being tortured by policemen of the same post-revolutionary Armenia and not receiving proper medical aid in Armenia MC. 


Let us remind that Nor Nork division policemen apprehended Edgar Tsatinyan on suspicion of murder and severely beat him. They tried to extort testimony from Edgar, otherwise they threatened to place “crystal meth” in his pocket. Realizing the possible consequences, Edgar swallowed the drug in a polyethylene bag. 


On 15 April 2019, in Special Investigation Service, a criminal case was initiated on torture. The case is in the preliminary investigation stage. A month later it became known that a second criminal case was initiated in the Investigative Committee on the provision of improper medical aid.


Having learnt about the initiated cases, HCA Vanadzor lawyer Arayik Zalyan, representative of Tsatinyan’s mother Larisa Yetaryan’s interests, applied to the RA Prosecutor General’s Office to provide the criminal case in full volume to the injured party and to transfer it to the Special Investigation Service. Nevertheless, the Prosecutor General’s Office “could see no need” to join the 2 criminal cases and investigate them in the Special Investigation Service.



So far, no one has been charged in the frame of the criminal case initiated on the provision of improper medical aid to E. Tsatinyan.The investigation, that has been carrying on for more than a year, has been limited to the forensic medical expertise conclusion and the assigned complex forensic expertise, which has not been completed and whose results are not ready yet.   


“The preliminary investigation body does not show due diligence in fully investigating this case. If the case has been being investigated for two years already and nothing has been done and they are still waiting for the expert’s conclusion to start the investigation, there can be no effectiveness, since the expertise is not connected with investigative actions”, claims advocate Arayik Zalyan.  All his recusals, complaints and mistrust in the impartiality of the body conducting the preliminary investigation have been rejected and ignored. 


Seeing that the State cannot provide effective investigation into the case, Arayik Zalyan lodged a complaint with the ECtHR on the grounds of the State not fulfilling its obligation of safeguarding Yetaryan’s son’s right to life. According to A.Zalyan, a number of rights enshrined by the European Convention of Human Rights have been violated. 


In particular, the State violated its positive obligation enshrined in Article 2 of the Convention, which guarantees that officials and state bodies must take certain positive steps aimed at the protection of persons’ lives and health, irrespective of the condition who violated a person’s right to health.


In his complaint, A. Zalyan also touched upon the fact of the investigation not being conducted by an independent body, which is an essential condition for the discovery of the criminal case. Violating the procedural right enshrined in the Convention, the State did not conduct a full investigation into Tsatinyan’s death. Exhaustive explanations were not given as to how a person under the control of the state happened to have a narcotic drug and why the medical institution, being aware of E. Tsatinyan’s swallowing of a narcotic drug in a polyethylene bag, did not provide proper medical aid. Moreover, the victim’s relatives learnt about the initiated criminal case only after advocate A. Zalyan applied to the RA Prosecutor General.


“As a result, the State failed to provide reasonable and sufficient protection of Tsatinyan’s life, which is enshrined in Article 2 of the Convention”, the advocate concluded the complaint.

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